Halifax Wonder Women

Halifax Wonder Women

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment | Published: November 1, 2018

Karen Furneaux is a three-time Olympian and two-time world champion in the sport of sprint kayaking. She has also been named one of the top 15 most successful athletes in Nova Scotia sport history. Through her business, I Promise Performance, Furneaux speaks to international audiences, organizations and youth about the importance of connecting health, mindset and performance. Karen recently
published her first book, Strong Beauty: Power Up the Champion Within.

“For me, it’s very important to be authentic in my leadership — being and doing the things I’m talking about. You can align and communicate better with people when you’re practicing that authenticity. Take care and pay attention to your own well-being, versus taking care of everyone else. This is something that helped me achieve success as an athlete and a business owner, as well.

I just wrote my first book and the message in that book is specifically for young women and young women athletes: Be patient, but also have the ability to dig in and work really hard. Success doesn’t come immediately. It’s in little, tiny steps that we reach our goals.”

Find out more about Karen Furneaux at ipromiseperformance.com and follow her
on Facebook @ipromiseperformance, Twitter @ipromiseperform and Instragram @strongbeautytribe.

Wendy Vrooman is a partner at Sandler Training and has spent the last 17 years developing people, teams and companies. Her senior leadership roles in sales have taught her to actively listen to customers and create needs-based solutions and meaningful experiences. Vrooman serves on the boards of both Alderney Landing and the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network and enjoys teaching students at UNB’s master of technology management and entrepreneurship (MTME) program.

“For women building a business or career right now, understand the problem you want to solve, then be fearless about going out and finding the people who can help you sometimes they’re not the people you think. You need a good, solid network of diverse people and a good, honest network of supporters who will tell you the truth.

“There are some incredibly smart, powerful female leaders in the city who speak out about how there aren’t enough women on boards and at the senior level. But we can’t use that as an excuse and we can’t be afraid of it. As women, we are often underestimated and that can be a powerful position to gain leverage. Don’t let the noise distract you from what makes you great and makes you different and what makes your voice necessary to be heard.”

Find out more about Wendy Vrooman
at sandler.com.

Leah Rimmer is a partner at BOYNECLARKE LLP, a full-service law firm located in Dartmouth and serving all of Atlantic Canada and the leader of the firm’s business law team. Her legal practice focuses entirely on business law and she particularly enjoys advising independent pharmacy owners. In addition to spending time with her family and friends, including her husband Darren and their four wonderful children, Leah enjoys being outdoors and all aspects of physical fitness, especially long-distance running.

“I think the number one thing is to be true to yourself and understand how your business is going to work with your life. The hardest part of business to me is those moments where you have to choose between family and work obligations, and sometimes there’s no right answer in that moment. We all think we need to blow it out of the water, but we don’t. You should do what you feel comfortable doing and find your own definition of success.

“My firm does a good job promoting women leaders and I feel very supported, here. Unfortunately, the traditional law firm model is not one that is set up to breed success for all women, especially moms. In our industry, if a guy says he’s leaving work early to go to a kid’s soccer game, he’s such a great dad — but if a woman does it, it’s like ‘there she goes again.’ We need to keep talking about it and help people see their unconscious biases.”

Find out more about Leah Rimmer at boyneclarke.com or on Instagram @leah_slife.

Menna Riley is an award-winning event management and networking expert. She uses strategic events and smart marketing tools to help businesses and organizations grow their core passions, client engagement and profit margins. With more than 20 years of experience, she consistently delivers strategic, organized, profitable, creative, buzzworthy events and strategies. Riley is also the founder and host of the popular Leading Ladies Networking events.

“ABN! Always be networking. Always be listening. I love getting my network on and I’m never doing it for me. I’m an active listener and I love to connect people with others who can help them. Networking is about making a genuine connection and to do that, you have to be in the moment. You can’t be listening to insert your elevator pitch. Don’t worry about not having your business card or about being perfect. Listen to connect.

“Don’t think you have to do things the way they’ve been done before. Throw away the handbooks. If your vision is too specific, prepare to not have that vision come to fruition! Just do it your way. Also, form an informal business bestie network, kind of an invisible board of directors. You form a trust and you’re not in a solopreneurial silo anymore. It doesn’t have to be women only, either. That has helped me so tremendously. It’s this perfect little symbiotic relationship and everyone wins.”

Find out more about Menna Riley at
mennariley.com or follow her on Twitter
@MennaRiley, Instagram @mennariley and Facebook @LeadingLadiesNetworking.

April Howe joined the Nova Scotia Public Service Commission as executive director of people and culture in 2017. She has an executive MBA from the Sobey School of Business at Saint Mary’s University. Before joining the PSC, Howe was a partner with Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette for 15 years, leading their Career Solutions practice. Currently, Howe serves as a director on the boards of the Halifax Partnership, the IWK Foundation, the United Way Halifax Region, the Black Business Initiative and the North End Community Health Centre.

“I’ve discovered that sharing leadership is powerful. Leadership need not be a singular, one-woman show and the sharing of leadership and the sharing of your power begets more power and leadership. Be as unvarnished as you can
be — it’s amazing when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and imperfect, people can tap into you and engage in your authenticity. I know a lot of women have challenges with not buying into their success and not believing that they’ve earned their place. We need to find ways to believe in our success.

“I don’t consider myself a Wonder Woman. I am a woman from a really great city, with a really great support system, working for a really good employer, who has watched successful people my entire career and tried to do exactly what they do. If I were a Wonder Woman, all of this would be easy.”

< Back to Articles | Topics: Positive business environment

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